Long range oil spill forecast

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 3:02 PM GMT on June 04, 2010

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Onshore winds out of the south, southwest, or west are expected to blow over the northern Gulf of Mexico over through Tuesday, resulting in a continued threat of landfalling oil to Alabama, Mississippi, and the Florida Panhandle, according to the latest trajectory forecasts from NOAA and the State of Louisiana. The latest ocean current forecasts from the NOAA HYCOM model show that these winds will generate a 0.5 mph current flowing from west to east along the Florida Panhandle coast Sunday through Tuesday. If this current develops as predicted, it will be capable of bringing light amounts of oil as far east as Panama City, Florida, by Wednesday. Long range surface wind forecasts from the GFS model for the period 8 - 14 days from now predict a return to a southeasterly wind regime, which would bring the oil back over Louisiana by mid-June. If you spot oil, send in your report to http://www.gulfcoastspill.com/, whose mission is to help the Gulf Coast recovery by creating a daily record of the oil spill.

Long range oil spill outlook
The National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) issued a press release yesterday showing 4-month model runs (Figure 1) of where the Deepwater Horizon oil spill might go. The model runs show that given typical ocean currents in the Gulf of Mexico, we can expect the oil to eventually affect most of the Florida Panhandle, Keys, and Florida East Coast, as well as coastal areas of South Carolina and North Carolina. Very little oil makes it to the West Florida "Forbidden Zone", where offshore-moving surface currents dominate. The oil may eventually affect three foreign countries: Mexico along the northern tip of the Yucatan Peninsula, Cuba near Havana, and the Bahamas in the Bimini Islands and along the western side of Grand Bahama Island. Once oil does get into the Loop Current, it will probably reach the coasts of France, Spain, and Portugal in about a year. The oil will be too dilute by then to be noticeable, though.

The present ocean current configuration in the Gulf features a newly formed Loop Current Eddy (dubbed "Franklin"), which will tend to capture the majority of oil that flows southwards from the Deepwater Horizon spill site. A plot of drifting buoys (drifters) launched into the Gulf May 19 - 24 (Figure 2) reveals how this clockwise-rotating eddy has been capturing southward-moving surface water. Eddy Franklin will move slowly west-southwest at 2 - 3 mph in the coming weeks. By August or September, the eddy will have moved far enough west that the Loop Current will be able to push northwards towards the spill location again, increasing the chances of oil getting into the Loop Current and being advected through the Florida Straits and up the U.S. Southeast Coast. Between now and mid-August, I doubt that a significant amount of oil will get into the Loop Current, unless a hurricane or tropical storm goes through the Gulf of Mexico. I put the odds of this happening by mid-August at 50%. The odds of a named storm in the Gulf of Mexico will increase sharply after mid-August, when the peak portion of hurricane season arrives. Past history shows a 95% chance of getting two or more named storms in the Gulf of Mexico during hurricane seasons with above-normal activity.


Figure 1. Animation from the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) showing one scenario of how oil released at the location of the Deepwater Horizon disaster on April 20 in the Gulf of Mexico may move in the upper 65 feet of the ocean.


Figure 2. During the R/V Bellows 19-24 May 2010 Cruise into the Loop Current, drifters were dropped on the eastern edge of the Loop Current. These drifters have all been caught in Loop Current Eddy "Franklin", and are orbiting the central Gulf of Mexico in clockwise loops. Additional drifters deployed by the Coast Guard over the past few weeks (orange colors) are also shown. The colored balloons show the starting location of the drifters. Image credit: University of South Florida.

Oil spill resources
My post, What a hurricane would do the Deepwater Horizon oil spill
My post on the Southwest Florida "Forbidden Zone" where surface oil will rarely go
My post on what oil might do to a hurricane
Oil trajectory forecasts from NOAA
Gulf Oil Blog from the UGA Department of Marine Sciences
Oil Spill Academic Task Force
University of South Florida Ocean Circulation Group oil spill forecasts
ROFFS Deepwater Horizon page
Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) imagery from the University of Miami


Figure 2. Visible satellite image of Tropical Cyclone Phet on Friday, June 4, 2010.

Tropical Cyclone Phet unleashes heavy rains on Oman
Tropical Cyclone Phet hit the northern tip of Oman yesterday as a Category 2 storm, bringing torrential rains and killing at least two people. Masirah, Oman recorded sustained winds of 74 mph yesterday, and Sur, Oman on the northeast coast has received 3.25 inches of rain so far. Phet was the 2nd strongest tropical cyclone ever recorded in the Arabian Sea, when it peaked at Category 4 strength with 145 mph. Only Category 5 Cyclone Gonu of 2007, which devastated Oman, was stronger. Phet has emerged from the coast of Oman this morning, but is likely to weaken over the next day due to increased wind shear. Phet should hit Pakistan as a tropical storm on Saturday, bringing heavy rain and serious flooding.

Next update
I'll probably have one update over the weekend. The tropical Atlantic is quiet right now, with no models predicting tropical cyclone development over the next seven days.

Jeff Masters

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1805. pottery
Quoting stoormfury:
SLU
the year 1960 was almost as hot. that year we in St Lucia was struck by hurricane ABBY onthe the 12th of july. what is coincidental and i will not put much attention to is the fact both in 1960 and now in 2010 there seems to be a bumber mango crop. if i were superstitious i would say beware

LOOK, A MANGO- CASTER!!
heheheheh

But yeah, big crop here too. I put it down to the bad dry season, and the trees 'fighting back', but you may have something there.

" I talk to the trees,
But they dont listen to me..."
Member Since: October 24, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 24246


AOI

AOI

TS BUSTED FORECAST ALIBI
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Quoting hydrus:
There seems to be a mid-level circulation present. If it avoids the shear, thunderstorms will probably reform.jmo


Which is what the GFS 850mb model is suggesting, maybe not with this current convection but another burst could do it.

Member Since: May 27, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 4438
1802. Levi32
Quoting Tazmanian:


WU WIND SHEAR MAPS ARE CARP


PLANINNG ON ASKING THEMTOO REMOVE THEM


They are perfectly fine. The color-schemes make the shear look lower than it actually is. By the time you get to yellow colors the shear is already hostile for TC formation.
Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26601
Quoting atmoaggie:

Hey, any more complaints about not getting any rain???

I noticed Mandeville getting soakers the last couple of days...

lol! no it been wonderful. my plants look happy too.
Member Since: September 10, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 1293
1800. xcool


Member Since: September 26, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 15648
1799. xcool
hey---------- buzzz
Member Since: September 26, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 15648
1798. hydrus
Quoting MrstormX:
Just because there is no convection with the BOC blob right now, doesn't mean it won't spin some back up.

There seems to be a mid-level circulation present. If it avoids the shear, thunderstorms will probably reform.jmo
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We're under a Severe Thunderstorm Watch.

SEL4

URGENT - IMMEDIATE BROADCAST REQUESTED
SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WATCH NUMBER 264
NWS STORM PREDICTION CENTER NORMAN OK
210 PM EDT SAT JUN 5 2010

THE NWS STORM PREDICTION CENTER HAS ISSUED A
SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WATCH FOR PORTIONS OF

FAR EASTERN INDIANA
NORTHERN KENTUCKY
FAR WESTERN MARYLAND PANHANDLE
MUCH OF OHIO
WESTERN PENNSYLVANIA
NORTHERN WEST VIRGINIA

EFFECTIVE THIS SATURDAY AFTERNOON AND EVENING FROM 210 PM UNTIL
900 PM EDT.

HAIL TO 2 INCHES IN DIAMETER...THUNDERSTORM WIND GUSTS TO 80
MPH...AND DANGEROUS LIGHTNING ARE POSSIBLE IN THESE AREAS.

THE SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WATCH AREA IS APPROXIMATELY ALONG AND 70
STATUTE MILES EITHER SIDE OF A LINE FROM 40 MILES NORTHWEST OF
CINCINNATI OHIO TO 5 MILES NORTH OF LATROBE PENNSYLVANIA. FOR A
COMPLETE DEPICTION OF THE WATCH SEE THE ASSOCIATED WATCH OUTLINE
UPDATE (WOUS64 KWNS WOU4).

REMEMBER...A SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WATCH MEANS CONDITIONS ARE
FAVORABLE FOR SEVERE THUNDERSTORMS IN AND CLOSE TO THE WATCH
AREA. PERSONS IN THESE AREAS SHOULD BE ON THE LOOKOUT FOR
THREATENING WEATHER CONDITIONS AND LISTEN FOR LATER STATEMENTS
AND POSSIBLE WARNINGS. SEVERE THUNDERSTORMS CAN AND OCCASIONALLY
DO PRODUCE TORNADOES.

OTHER WATCH INFORMATION...CONTINUE...WW 262...WW 263...

DISCUSSION...LINE OF STORMS HAS RECENTLY DEVELOPED IN ERN
INDIANA...AHEAD OF AN MCV. THIS LINE IS EXPECTED TO INTENSIFY AND
ACCELERATE EWD WITH AN INCREASING DAMAGING WIND THREAT. OTHER STORMS
WERE SCATTERED AHEAD OF THE LINE AND WILL ALSO LIKELY INTENSIFY INTO
SUPERCELLS AS THEY SHIFT EWD. THE GREATEST SEVERE THREAT WITH THESE
STORMS WILL BE LARGE HAIL.

AVIATION...A FEW SEVERE THUNDERSTORMS WITH HAIL SURFACE AND ALOFT
TO 2 INCHES. EXTREME TURBULENCE AND SURFACE WIND GUSTS TO 70
KNOTS. A FEW CUMULONIMBI WITH MAXIMUM TOPS TO 500. MEAN STORM
MOTION VECTOR 29030.


...IMY


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Quoting atmoaggie:

They do seem a little fishy...


ROFL, your bad
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Quoting wunderkidcayman:
well stormwatcherCI how are you I ca't wait fpr those tropical waves to come we need the rain badly what do you think


It won't be long now...

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Quoting AllStar17:


No, they hardly ever show live shows anymore. Weekend Now just got over at 2 pm. The next time a live show is on is 6 pm tonight. It's disgusting.


I hate it, every time I turn it on it is reruns of storm stories, or some dumb weather related movie. Its awful, but it made me realize if those jokes can be meteorologists so can I. Its given me ammunition to go to met school, that ive never had before.
Member Since: May 27, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 4438
SLU
the year 1960 was almost as hot. that year we in St Lucia was struck by hurricane ABBY onthe the 12th of july. what is coincidental and i will not put much attention to is the fact both in 1960 and now in 2010 there seems to be a bumber mango crop. if i were superstitious i would say beware
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting wunderkidcayman:
well sarahjola the reason that the weather channel is not talking about them is because they do not see any developments in them for the next 24-72 hours
oh, i guess they don't speculate on what might happen. they only go with what is already happening.
Member Since: September 10, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 1293
Quoting Tazmanian:


WU WIND SHEAR MAPS ARE CARP


PLANINNG ON ASKING THEMTOO REMOVE THEM

They do seem a little fishy...
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1541 JamesSA "So as not to overload our WEATHER blog with oil spill discussion, here is an oilfield related blog with a pretty active discussion of the ongoing efforts at controlling the spill..."

The spill is so large that it has probably become a significant part of the weather.
And failure to talk about the slicks that remain upon and the plumes that are mixed in with the seawater would be more misleading than talking about hurricanes without mentioning storm surge.
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well stormwatcherCI how are you I ca't wait fpr those tropical waves to come we need the rain badly what do you think
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Just because there is no convection with the BOC blob right now, doesn't mean it won't spin some back up.

Member Since: May 27, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 4438
1787. hydrus
Quoting stormwatcherCI:
Conditions exactly the same in Cayman as in Trinidad. HOT
Being surrounded by all that bath water I would not doubt it a bit. I checked out some models and the Caymans might see more rain starting the middle of next week.
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Quoting Levi32:
Dr. Masters has not even made an outlook for this season, and certainly has never suggested 2009 is an analog year.


On his radio show Tuesday I think he said 15-8-5.
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Quoting AllStar17:
The greens and blue no longer being predicted in the GOM. Shear soon looks to become more favorable.


WU WIND SHEAR MAPS ARE CARP


PLANINNG ON ASKING THEMTOO REMOVE THEM
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1784. pottery
Quoting Beachfoxx:
Frantic! that describes me.... LOL


''smile,
when your Heart is breaking,
smile
even though it's aching.
etc''
Member Since: October 24, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 24246
Quoting MrstormX:


Thats typical of the twc they wait until something happens, then act like they were the first to follow it. In the time before they just sit there say nothing is going to happen, then run off and give us gardening tips or some crap like that.


No, they hardly ever show live shows anymore. Weekend Now just got over at 2 pm. The next time a live show is on is 6 pm tonight. It's disgusting.
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1782. Levi32
Quoting SLU:
current conditions

temp - 90F (average 86F)
RH - 62%
heat index - 100F

Born and raised in St. Lucia, I can't remember ever experiencing such consistently high temperatures like this. It's been like 10 months of constant 90 - 92F daytime temps.

Please send back the rain ....


Been hearing stories like this all winter long from down there. The rainy season has started and will probably resume with a bang once the MJO moves back over near the end of the month. Right now there's too much sinking air to allow much rain.
Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26601
Yes, it looks horrible today, I can't watch it anymore. I think it looks worse than I've ever seen it.

Quoting atmoaggie:

Hey, any more complaints about not getting any rain???

I noticed Mandeville getting soakers the last couple of days...
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1780. Levi32
Quoting sarahjola:

how come the weather channel don't talk about these waves. they say it is dead out there right now and according to this its not dead at all. so are these expected to be in the Caribbean by wed. and do you think they have potential for development?


That's because it is dead out there. It's absolutely gorgeous weather in the Caribbean right now. These tropical waves under all this sinking air will do nothing as they come across, but the air they will be piling up in the western Caribbean could possibly mean trouble during the June 10th-20th period.
Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26601
Quoting wunderkidcayman:
well sarahjola the reason that the weather channel is not talking about them is because they do not see any developments in them for the next 24-72 hours


Thats typical of the twc they wait until something happens, then act like they were the first to follow it. In the time before they just sit there say nothing is going to happen, then run off and give us gardening tips or some crap like that.
Member Since: May 27, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 4438
1778. pottery
Quoting naplesdreamer28:
Also, what is that white pipe thing that is spewing white liquid near the spill?

Dispersants
Member Since: October 24, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 24246
Frantic! that describes me.... LOL
Quoting pottery:

Hi, Foxx.
Looks more 'frantic' in the last few hours.
So sorry.............................
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Mostly Cloudy
91°F

Feels like: 114°F

Barometer: 29.9 in
Dewpoint: 82°
Humidity: 75%
Visibility: 6 miles
Precip in last hr: NA
Precip last 24 hrs: 0 in
Wind: 6 mph ESE
Sunrise: 5:20 AM
Sunset: 6:27 PM
UV Index: 10+ Extreme

Observed at Belize International Airport.
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Quoting hydrus:
91.F 63% humidity would be considered dangerous here.
Conditions exactly the same in Cayman as in Trinidad. HOT
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1773. pottery
Quoting SLU:
current conditions

temp - 90F (average 86F)
RH - 62%
heat index - 100F

Born and raised in St. Lucia, I can't remember ever experiencing such consistently high temperatures like this. It's been like 10 months of constant 90 - 92F daytime temps.

Please send back the rain ....

Must be Global Warmi...aaacckk, coffcoff, gag...whew, sorry, almos' choked to death there.
Member Since: October 24, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 24246
Quoting sarahjola:

how come the weather channel don't talk about these waves. they say it is dead out there right now and according to this its not dead at all. so are these expected to be in the Caribbean by wed. and do you think they have potential for development?

Hey, any more complaints about not getting any rain???

I noticed Mandeville getting soakers the last couple of days...
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting naplesdreamer28:
Is it just me, or does it look like the well is just out of control gushing more than ever??


Seems to me the news media is giving BP to much credit for this, the flow increased when they cut the pipe so even if they are collecting some oil, there is still tons pouring out maybe as bad as always.
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1769. Levi32
Dr. Masters has not even made an outlook for this season, and certainly has never suggested 2009 is an analog year.
Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26601
Also, what is that white pipe thing that is spewing white liquid near the spill?
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well sarahjola the reason that the weather channel is not talking about them is because they do not see any developments in them for the next 24-72 hours
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Is it just me, or does it look like the well is just out of control gushing more than ever??
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1764. hydrus
Quoting TropicalWave:


Yet, Dr. Masters choose 2008 and 2009 as the potential analog years for this season, WTF. I'd really like an explination for that. NOT LIKELY. He knows this year will be just like ither 2004 or 2005, he just refuses to admita s of now, but eventually he will, mark my words.
2009 as an analog year? are you sure?
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1762. SLU
current conditions

temp - 90F (average 86F)
RH - 62%
heat index - 100F

Born and raised in St. Lucia, I can't remember ever experiencing such consistently high temperatures like this. It's been like 10 months of constant 90 - 92F daytime temps.

Please send back the rain ....
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting wunderkidcayman:
well MrstormX it looks like it came from that area of clouds in the BOC


That's kind of what I am thinking, or potentially another blowup of convection tonight. But thats some really strong yet tight vorticity.
Member Since: May 27, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 4438
1759. pottery
Maybe the pipe to the surface has stopped flowing. Or something.
Member Since: October 24, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 24246
Quoting TropicalWave:
True, MrX. But i do not understand why he picked picked the steering patterns for those two years, though.


I agree with you there, 2009 especially is not a good comparison given the strength of the a/b high. 2004 is probably the best analog year for tracks, and '05 for intensity.
Member Since: May 27, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 4438
Quoting wunderkidcayman:
Is it just me or did those tropical waves grew in the forecast
24H


48H


72H


how come the weather channel don't talk about these waves. they say it is dead out there right now and according to this its not dead at all. so are these expected to be in the Caribbean by wed. and do you think they have potential for development?
Member Since: September 10, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 1293
1756. pottery
Quoting Beachfoxx:
Say it ain't so!!!

We've got tarballs 5 miles west of us, on Okaloosa Island - and sometimes I can get a little whiff of a kerosene like smell & I am approx. 5 miles North of Destin on the Bay.

Hi, Foxx.
Looks more 'frantic' in the last few hours.
So sorry.............................
Member Since: October 24, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 24246

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Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.

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